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Amid cybersecurity concerns, tech industry to meet ahead of 2018 midterm elections

The meeting is intended to establish more connections among the companies, which can otherwise be fierce competitors.
by David Ingram /
Image: Reginaldo Muniz casts his ballot during Wyoming's primary election
Reginaldo Muniz casts his ballot during Wyoming's primary election on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018 in Laramie, Wyoming.Blaine McCartney / The Wyoming Tribune Eagle via AP

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SAN FRANCISCO — Silicon Valley companies are planning to meet to discuss how their services could be abused before the November midterm elections.

Tech firms have scheduled a meeting for Friday to share plans with one another, three people familiar with the matter told NBC News. The three spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The meeting is intended to establish more connections among the companies — which can otherwise be fierce competitors — in hopes of sharing more information about cybersecurity threats, one of the three people said.

Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft and Snapchat were among a dozen companies invited to the meeting to be held at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters. The meeting was first reported by BuzzFeed News.

The tech industry faces enormous pressure from shareholders, government authorities and its own workers not to allow a repeat of the 2016 election, when Russia used online services to covertly spread disinformation.

Iran this week became the latest country accused of information warfare on social media when Facebook, Twitter and Google said they had found covert Iranian activity and took down hundreds of accounts.

BuzzFeed reported that Friday's meeting would include presentations from each company on what they're doing, a discussion period on the problems the companies face and a talk about whether such a meeting should become a regular occurrence.

Tech firms regularly work together on other issues, especially when they involve security online such as rooting out child pornography.

Jason Abbruzzese contributed reporting.

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